EU F-Gas Regulations – Solvents

EU F-Gas Regulations - Solvents

This guidance is for organisations affected by the 2014 EU F-Gas Regulation (517/2014). The F-Gas
Regulation creates controls on the use and emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gases)
including HFCs, PFCs and SF6.

In the solvent sector, the F-Gas Regulation affects the use of HFCs as cleaning solvents. The 2014 EU
F-Gas Regulation replaces the 2006 Regulation, strengthening all of the 2006 requirements and
introducing a number of important new measures.

The F-Gas Regulation is an important piece of legislation that will result in significant reductions in the
emissions of F-Gases. These are very powerful greenhouse gases, with global warming impacts that
can be several thousand times higher than CO2 (per kg of gas emitted). All EU Member States agree
that it is important to reduce emissions of these gases.

This Information Sheet describes the requirements that apply to solvent products.

Sector Description

EU F-Gas Regulations – Solvents


 

 

Various industrial cleaning processes make use of fluorinated solvents. Historically there was significant use of CFC solvents (such as CFC 113) and HCFC solvents (such as HCFC 141b). During the phase out of ozone depleting substances there was a substantial shift away from fluorinated solvents, towards other organic solvents (e.g. ethers and alcohols) and “not-in-kind” technologies such as aqueous cleaning. A small residual market remains for HFC-based solvents, with HFC 4310mee being the main HFC-based product. HFC 365mfc is also used as a solvent. HFC solvents are often sold under trade names (such as Vertrel XF) and can be blended with other types of solvent.

 

Compliance Checklist

EU F-Gas Regulations – Solvents


-Purchase of new solvent products
NEW: take account of HFC phase down when selecting solvents
NEW: new products containing HFC solvents must be labelled from 1st January 2015
-End-of-life requirements
-Mandatory recovery of solvents by qualified technician

Target audience for this Information Sheet

EU F-Gas Regulations – Solvents


 

This information sheet is aimed at companies that manufacture, sell or use cleaning
solvents containing HFCs.

 

Purchase of new solvent products

EU F-Gas Regulations – Solvents


 

NEW: Impact of the HFC Phase Down on the manufacture of aerosol

The new F-Gas Regulation does not introduce any bans on the use of HFCs as solvents. However, when selecting a solvent you should consider the HFC phase down that is a key feature of the 2014 F-Gas Regulation. This will reduce the quantity of HFCs that can be sold in the EU – by 2030 there will be an 80% cut in HFC supply. The phase down is likely to lead to an increase in the price of HFCs. It makes sense to always use solvents with the lowest practical GWP to minimise the future impact of the phase down.

 

New: Product Labeling

EU F-Gas Regulations – Solvents


 

From January 1st 2015 all solvent products that contain F-Gases (including HFCs) shall not be placed
on the market unless the F-Gases are identified with a label. The label shall indicate the following
information:

1) A reference that the solvent contains F-Gases
2) The accepted industry designation for the F-Gas concerned or, if no such designation is
available, the chemical name
3) From 1 January 2017, the quantity expressed in weight and in CO2 equivalent of F-Gas
contained in the solvent, and the global warming potential of the solvent.

End-of-life requirements

EU F-Gas Regulations – Solvents


 

Any F-Gas-based solvents (including HFCs) reaching end-of-life must be properly recovered. Recovery
must be carried out by qualified technicians.

All recovered F-Gases can be either:

a) Sent for destruction by incineration at a licenced waste facility
b) Sent to a specialist plant that can re-process the old solvent to obtain properties identical to
virgin fluid, to create “reclaimed solvent”
c) Given a basic cleaning process, to create “recycled solvent”.
Given the HFC supply shortage that will be created by the phase down process, it is worth trying to
send the old solvent for reclamation as it may have a good residual value. If the old solvent is too
contaminated it cannot be reclaimed and must be sent for destruction.
It is important not to mix different solvents in the same recovery container –this would render them unsuitable for reclamation.

Reclaimed solvents can be used in any solvent equipment. Recycled solvents must always be used
with care as it may be slightly contaminated or of unknown composition.

Training Requirements

EU F-Gas Regulations – Solvents


 

Technicians involved in recovery of solvents containing F-Gases need to hold either:

• Fraser Technology solvents F gas qualification, or
• A European qualification recognised under mutual recognition provisions.

The SRAC industry and the world as a whole, now understand that fluorinated gases have a potentially devastating global warming effect when released into the atmosphere.

F Gas regulations have been implemented in order to contain, prevent and thereby reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases.

On 2nd April 2008, the Commission Regulation 303/2008 set out the requirements for a company certification scheme.

This scheme is specifically for businesses working with F Gas refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump equipment containing or designed to contain fluorinated greenhouse gases.

These F Gas Certification requirements are in accordance with Article 5.1 of EC Regulations 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (the EC F Gas Regulation).